Justin Moore’s always had a thing about doing it his way. Call it stubborn redneck mettle, a well-developed case of “who I am” or just the fi erce commitment to blaze a trail inherent to people from his home of Poyen, Arkansas. It doesn’t mat ter why, just that the blazing sense of of f the beaten path drives his albumof the same name.
Again teaming with fellow writer/producer Jeremy Stover, the pair turn up the guitars, lean into the swagger and refine the powerful good ole boy perspective that allows for all the bravado. There’s a strong vein of tenderness and decency holding Moore’s kind of country together. Look no further than Rhett Atkins/Ben Hayslip/Ross Copperman-written “Point At You,” the lead single, that acknowledges every wild hair Moore has, but hits the bottom line of his goodness via the woman who became his bride.
Those dualities are the truest thing about most red-blooded American males. Get loud, get rowdy, but get home and emerge solid family men dedicated to some basic ideals that have defi ned this country. One need look no further than The Warren Brothers/Lance Miller/Austin Cunningham-penned opener “Old Back In The New School” to understand Moore is all about the things that last, the wild times and the enduring values making for a way of life worth living.
When he hits that chorus “Just ‘cause something’s hip don’t make it cool/ Let’s put a little old back in the new school...”with his hard twang tenor, Moore’s authority is as real as the bite in his voice. It is that willingness to be “country” that gives Moore’s kind of country its edge.
It’s that kind of edge that draws a singer like Miranda Lambert to duet on the somber heartbreaker “Old Habits.” Being too proud to figure it out and too set in one’s ways to let go, it mines the classic country motifs with a wide-open throb that is every bit of regret honkytonk jukeboxes are made of.
Moore has always had an interesting way of negotiating the good ole boy/redneck reality that’s defi ned today’s hardcore country fan. A little bit rowdy, a little bit sentimental, a whole lotta roughneck, Moore has dented the country radio charts with three #1s in the anything but big city “Small Town USA,” the sentimental family embracing “If Heaven Weren’t So Far Away” and the fi delity pledge “Til My Last Day,” in addition to the Top 10 mission declaration “Backwoods.”